On Immigration It’s The Corporatists v. Racists, Still

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, Immigration at 10:42 am by wcnews

Via Chisme comes this DMN piece about the plight of the business person who’s been “unknowingly” employing illegal immigrants, and the supposed damage it would do to the economy if strict enforcement was to occur, Texas employers wary of policing workers’ immigration status.

As employers face increasing pressure from states and in the courts to more closely police Social Security numbers of undocumented workers, some in Texas say that’s not their job and that such action could hammer the economy.

“What if some of my best guys turn out to be illegal?” said Lisa Galvan, who runs five Luna de Noche restaurants in the Dallas area and employs 200 workers. “It is scary.”

Between 8 percent and 9 percent of the Texas workforce is estimated to be in the country illegally, according to an analysis of 2005 U.S. Census data by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center done for The Dallas Morning News. That’s nearly twice the national average of about 5 percent.

So a crackdown on employers in Texas – in agriculture and construction in particular, where the percentage of workers is higher – could have a major impact, some analysts and employers say.

They’ve been breaking the law, profiting from it, and at the same time driving down wages. Now, since it seems likely we’re headed for a recession, the business/corporations are turning to economic scare tactics. Not only is this still a battle between racists and corporatists, but it’s become quite a battle between the state (who is profiting from illegal immigration) and the local governments (who aren’t profiting).

According to the state comptroller’s office, illegal immigration drained hundreds of millions from local governments in fiscal year 2005 but provided a boost of nearly $17.7 billion to the state.

“To do anything to dramatically reduce the Texas workforce would have pretty severe consequences,” said Ray Perryman, an economist with the Perryman Group, an economic and financial analysis firm in Waco.

But others say that employers have had a free ride for far too long – exploiting illegal workers with low pay, few benefits and, in some cases, even wage theft.

“Businesses really are worried that this time they won’t be able to pull the same trick: supporting laws that look tough and then are never enforced,” said Mark Krikorian, who heads a Washington research center that supports immigration restrictions.

Ed Cox, who employs 125 workers at his blinds and shades factory in Haltom City, said, “It is horrible timing. It wouldn’t take very much to throw us into a recession, and this issue would do it.”

He added: “Our position as businesspeople is we are not in charge of enforcement.”

If businesses and corporations are making money, if the state government is making money, if the federal government is making money, and only the local governments aren’t…well three out of 4 ain’t bad. But there is a price in criminal justice, health care, etc.., that’s being paid for by the local governments while other’s profit. That’s what the recent proposed Georgetown city ordinance was a reaction to - illegal immigration is stressing local government budgets. It would only be fair for the money making entities to trickle-down some of that profit to the locals if they wanted to continue this process “as is”.

The whole enforcement issue is a joke (see above). It’s long been the case that all that needs to be done is enforce the law. After all, it is illegal now to employ illegal immigrants. But this current argument has always been less about the law and more about blaming and dehumanizing those people, and allowing business and corporations to continue to use cheap labor while looking like innocent bystanders. What are they supposed to do when “illegal” cheap labor keeps showing up at your door and there’s no punishment for hiring them?

I completely agree with the comments from Chisme:

Well, excuuuuuse me! They could argue that the government might make it easier to check documentation, but otherwise, isn’t it their job to check employees records? Don’t they already check resumes and criminal histories?

Employers love them some cheap labor. What about a solution that protects American labor, provides labor to business and treats undocumented workers already here with basic human dignity? Oh, yeah. Republicans are in charge. No chance of that!

As my father always said, “It’s all about want to”. And it’s apparent many don’t want to enforce immigration laws, it’s too profitable keep things the way they are.

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